Monday, January 7, 2013

December 2012 Results

Fiscal Cliff?  What Fiscal Cliff?
I'll admit it. I have been neglecting the blog.  It hasn't been my intention, but I just haven't had time or made time.  I am in the middle of an extremely busy time at work and the baby is due this month.  It is hard for me to blog after working long hours or getting stuff ready for the baby, but I am not going to have another month like November (only 1 post).  Although we haven't been blogging, we still haven't wavered on making progress towards our goal.  We didn't spend any money on Christmas and we are still making steady progress towards becoming debt free.  We didn't do any Craigslisting, which is a drag.  We need to stay to course and it will be over before we know it.  I'm even considering throwing a large blow out Debt Free Party when we are finished.  I've heard more and more people are having them these days.  Also, what better way to celebrate being debt free than with friends and family?    Check December 2012:

Results Snapshot

Detailed Results

Total Income:  $8,160

Paychecks:  $7,645
Pretty standard month.  No additional income this month.

Craiglist/Ebay:  $0
New Lowest Month.  No sales.  We just don't have anytime.  I do have some items that can be sold, but haven't really had the time to sell them.  I should start having time again in May, but we will probably be debt free by then.  

Credit Card Rewards:  $515
We have two credit cards (one American Express and one Mastercard) that we use to pay for most of our expenses.  This helps us better track expenses, manage cash flow, manage consumer risk, and earn rewards.  We typically pay off our credit balance every month.  This month I did not pay it in full and put a few hundred extra towards our loans.  I will pay off the balances after we get paid in January, but for the most part we never carry a balance more than 2 weeks.  Our credit cards have cash back rewards and at the end of each year, those rewards are credited to our account.  Not a bad deal for using other people's money.  We have been able to use our credit cards wisely and have been fortunate enough to live comfortably without running up our credit card bills.  This isn't the case for everyone.  If you continually run up a balance on your credit card and can't pay it back at the end of the month, I would highly recommend you cancel the card. Credit cards are a luxury, but can quickly become a burden.  Tread lightly.

Total Expenses:  $8,403
Our total income was slightly lower than our total expenses.  This was due to the decision to make a larger student loan payment and pay the credit card off early in Jan.  

Sallie Mae:  $4,730
I'm still shooting for $5,000 each month and falling a little short.  It is hard to hit that mark without extra Craigslist money, but we are trending upward (Nov: $4,300 and Dec: $4,700).  Making $4K+ payments a month is getting tiring.  It sucks watching that money go up in smoke.  Sometimes I think about what I could be spending that on (Killer loft, Lambo, sick vacations), but that is counter productive.  It will be nice watching my savings or investment accounts go up by $4K each month after this is done.    

Rent:  $1,565
Standard.  Not changing.  However, we are having a baby this month and live in a one bedroom apartment.  Our lease is month to month and we can bail with 2 months notice.  We are most likely moving this summer to a bigger place.  We will hopefully be debt free by then and we will have a lot more flexibility.  Even if we had a bigger house now, the baby would most likely be sleeping in our room for the first few months anyway.  Might as well enjoy cheap rent, while we can.  

Tithe:  $700
I don't really care what your religious beliefs or values are, but it is important to have them and live your life by them.  Also, your life circumstances should not dictate your values.  Live your life according to what is important to you.  Standard monthly expense.  

Cable, Internet, Cell:  $162
Dropped $8 because we cancelled Netflix.  More changes to come.  At the end of December I cancelled my cell line.  I am going to use my work phone.  Also, I'm cancelling Hulu Plus this month.  We were gifted Amazon Prime for Christmas by a family member.  After looking over the TV/Movie selection, we decided Hulu Plus wasn't necessary anymore.  All the benefits probably won't fully be seen for 2 months, but I think our cable, internet, and cell service will drop to around $100 a month.     

Gasoline:  $224
We drove to the Outer Banks for a few days to spend time with family during the holidays.  Goal for January: $100.  No exceptions.

Automotive:  $59
Oil change.  Failed Inspection.  The car needs some work, but still cruising strong.   

Groceries:  $149
Great month.  Our expenses seem to be swinging.  One month way over budget, the next way under.

Household:  $91
Trips to Target.  Cleaning supplies, toiletries, medicine, etc. Under budget.  

Eating Out:  $186
Under budget.  I would like to see this go to $50 or below.    

Entertainment:  $1
I bought an Ipad app.  I can't remember which one I bought, but it was probably lame.  

Clothing:  $125
Maternity clothes and shoes. 

Gifts:  $54
My wife had to buy some gifts for people at work.  

Personal Care:  $40
Sonogram visit. 

Misc:  $317
Slightly overbudget.

Insurance ($71) - Life insurance premiums.

Google Voice ($20) - I ported my number to google voice.  This is a one time fee, but now I'm no longer chained to Verizon and I get to keep my number.  

Home Depot ($34) - I bought some supplies to work on a few pieces of furniture.

Ezpass ($105) - Automatic charge for using Ezpass when we get a low balance.  This has been able to last us 5-6 months.  Just happen to hit this month.  

Cleaners ($85) - Dry cleaners expense is back to normal.  I think it is time to start testing washing and ironing at home.    

Thanks for reading.